Researchers from Germany have identified a gene that is associated with an increased risk of suffering from skin cancer. The research, published this month in Journal of Carcinogenesis, could also explain why men are more likely to suffer from malignant melanoma than women.
Although most people associate melanoma with exposure to UV light, through excessive sunbathing for example, the disease can be inherited – indicating that faulty genes are also partly to blame. Genetic risk factors also affect the likelihood of individuals suffering from non-inherited, or sporadic, melanoma.
To identify these risk factors, researchers from the University Hospital in Tuebingen took blood samples from 450 healthy volunteers, and 500 people who had been diagnosed with malignant melanoma, from which they could extract DNA. In collaboration with Genefinder Technologies Ltd., Munich, Germany and Sequenom Inc., San Diego, USA, the researchers studied the DNA samples, looking for slight differences in the genes between people with melanoma skin cancer and people with no cancers at all. To do this they screened more than 25,000 sites across the whole genome, which are known to vary naturally between different people.
Gemma Bradley | BioMed Central
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